Kaniela Kelekolio, Captain Cook, HI. The legacy of slavery and, for much of history, the demographics of the USA have led to ‘white vs black’ being the central racial discussion. But as America grows more diverse and East and South Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic communities and white and black ethnic subgroups flourish, they challenge a […]
T.W., Baltimore, MD. I am White, non-Hispanic, but I go to Mexico on a regular basis so I have worked really hard to speak decent Spanish. I’m not fluent, but I can get around, and I have a believable accent. So back in the U.S., there are times when knowing Spanish comes in handy. I […]
Lola Rain, Roseville, CA. Growing up a white kid in a Hispanic neighbor changes ones perspective on what it means to be priviledged and entitled, neither of which I was as an only child but somehow grew into as an adult — most likely because I’m always trying to prove myself. But as I age, […]
Christina Aviles, Bethesda, MD. “You don’t talk like most Hispanic girls do, you don’t wear your hair like them, you don’t listen to the same music as them, you’re just not, well you’re not like super Hispanic”. This is what my white college roommate said to me during our first semester of freshman year when […]
Anonymous, Miami, FL. Though I was born and Raised in a suburb a few miles south of Miami, Florida. My mom and dad are from Ethiopia and Sudan respectively. As a child, I’d say about 99% of the community were “white”. During middle and high school it shifted to about 49% “white”, 49% Hispanic and […]
Lucia Flores Medford, MA My parents raised us to be proud of our Dominican heritage, and at the same time went to great lengths to ensure that we had the cultural/intellectual capital to succeed in a white-dominant society. As a result, I am an active participant in American culture as well as Dominican/Hispanic culture in […]
Angelina A., Allentown, PA. I myself always get asked about questions about my racial and ethnic background and it never has bothered me. I usually always say I am half Dominican and half Chilean, then I go on to explaining that my dad is from Chile and my mom is from The Dominican Republic. Although […]
Annette Maldonado, Rochester, NY. Hispanics are invisible a lot of the times. We are seen as not really white, but not quite Black either.
Araceli Ruiz, Jurupa Valley, CA.
Raysa Rivera, Worcester, MA. I have struggled with my inability to fit in within the Hispanic culture. I cannot speak the language without having trouble with grammar and sounding like a “white girl.” I’ve gotten mocked because of it all the time. My family has also decided to leave some of the cultural traditions back […]
Marcella Gucho, Sacramento, CA. I’m half Hispanic and half Irish, and it’s put me a few interesting positions with other groups of people. For instance, some assume that Mexican stereotypes can’t bother me because “I’m White passing.” Some more extreme people I’ve encountered as a child think I’m a mistake because of my parentage (i.e., […]
Rebeca Cruz-Esteves, Philadelphia, PA. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in both the U.S. Although my first language is Spanish it’s hard to tell since I have no accent. Growing up it was hard to immediately blend in as I spent my childhood in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. As a teenager my family […]
Eliana Rodriguez, Winston Salem, NC. I hate the feeling of rejection from the Caucasians I grew up with and the Hispanics that come from my culture. Ive always felt alienated from the white students in my schools but it hurt even more to find out that people from my own culture didn’t accept me cause […]
Amaia Diaz, Chesapeake, VA.
Catherine Kehl, Cleveland Heights, OH. When we divide ourselves into “us” and “other” we don’t only lose the other, we lose ourselves. I was twenty-seven before I realized that my mother sometimes spoke to me in Spanish not because she’d picked some up in college before travelling in South America in her twenties, but because […]
Anonymous, Houston, TX. It’s hard being a young “smart” black man, especially in the military. If to good at my job it’s because “we helped you out more because we don’t want you to think we where racists” then if I’m not good at my job its. “Well you know black people are lazy…” Plus […]
Hector Vargas, Grand Rapids, MI. I grew up on the east coast. The high school I attended was primarily populated by minorities. My mother is Mexican and my biological father is Brazilian. My mother remarried and i was raised with Mexican customs. On the East cost I was considered Latino, in the mid west I […]
Gabriela Swain, Ionia, MI. I was raised in a predominantly White/Hispanic town in mid-Michigan. What few colored people that did live in my zip code I never interacted with because they were locked up in one of our correctional facilities. After going to a community college in Grand Rapids I had to face a lot […]
Elizabeth Swenson, Hacienda Heights, CA. I went to school in NC were it was predominately black & white in2006. My husband and the majority of my friends are Hispanic or Spanish descent. I never really though racism exist coming from LA, CA were its divers. But here I saw people say nasty things, dirty looks, […]
Martín De Greiff, Winchester, MA. Just because I am hispanic, does not mean I should be working on your lawn… I was walking one day early in the morning after a run and I noticed some hispanic guys working on a lawn on a house with an odd machine. So I stopped and asked what […]
Anna Hill, Dallas, TX. I assist Hispanic school children with their homework after school. They bring their issues to me and the majority are black educators making differences between black children and Mexican children.
Janice Mendoza, East Lansing, MI. I moved to Michigan from Southern California in middle school. I was very shocked to find out that there were not many Latinos in my new area. I felt very out of place. I am current student at Michigan State. I loved the idea of diversity when I got accepted […]
Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). […]
Cynthia Deras GA Are you hispanic? Why dont you speak spanish? What part of Mexico are your parents from? Say something in Spanish! Your not really Mexican if you dont speak spanish. Basically thats the reaction I get from the latino community when someone finds out I dont speak Spanish. I lost Spanish as a […]
Irmie S. Bristol, CT I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Both of my parents were from Puerto Rico but were of Spanish ancestry, which caused my fair, freckle-prone skin. I looked so different from so many of my caramel-skinned classmates. So, in Junior High School, when one Puerto Rican boy began teasing all […]
Annie Woodbridgem VA In high school, a white male classmate once said this to me. I am a half-Korean, half-Dominican woman. I had no idea how to respond. The context I perceived was that he meant that I spoke very clear, unaccented English, ate American-typical food staples for lunch, got excellent grades, and was in […]
Nicole Bodenstein Milwaukee, WI I’m allowed to have a German last name.
Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]
Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.
Renee Lewin Asutin, TX My mother is Mexican-American from the Rio Grande Valley, my father is white from Orange, NJ. I was raised in a home where English was primarily spoken, but Spanish was still commonly heard. As I was growing up I viewed myself primarily as Mexican. I spent most of my time with […]
Sabrina Vargas Albuquerque, NM Being Spanish I have light skin. Many people in Spain have blue eyes, green eyes, red hair. Just because I have red hair, and lighter skin than most Hispanics doesn’t mean I’m white.
Lauren Rodriguez Indianapolis, IN … But I’m Hispanic. People always want to categorize me into one or the other “category of people” just because I don’t hangout with a lot of Hispanics but I’m proud of my roots. Just because I listen to a certain genre of music, or I am part of a nationally […]
Laurie Mitchell Dunn Taos, NM In my northern NM community, Native Americans have been here for over 1,000 years and Hispanics for 400 years. Anglos are both minorities and relative newcomers (first arriving about 150 years ago). Even native born Anglos aren’t really accepted as “locals”. The Hispanics here have a saying: “Just because your […]
Dean Lincoln, NE I never know what to put down for my ethnicity when filling out official forms. I used to put down whatever I thought would be most helpful given the situation… padding the numbers for one racial group or whatever gave the best possibilities for scholarships on a different form. I used to […]
Mary Spain I’m married to a dark haired dark eyed white skinned Spanish speaking man of pure European descent. He is Spanish. We live in Spain! When many of my American friends comment on our biracial marriage or our children being mixed I want to correct them but feel that by doing so i’ll come […]
Will Chiang New York City, NY Brooklyn
Natalie Mariam Pattillo Alpine, TX It always seems that my ethnic background becomes a guessing game at dinner parties. Even strangers will come up to me and ask me “what are you..wait, let me guess…egyptian, hispanic, black.,? Usually, I want to say “I’m a human” but I allow the guessing game to continue until they’ve […]
Jayda Medina New York City, NY Brooklyn When I was about five year olds, a Dominican hair dresser cut about seven inches of my hair. When ever I tell someone, I get a racist remark about hispanic people and scissors.
Cleo Bedford, NY Yes, I am white and Colombian.
Danielle Silver Forest Park, OH A white guy I liked told me this. I am white( German, Irish, Penn. Dutch), Hispanic, Native American. I used to get asked where I was from in school. I said, “I’m an American.” My ancestors have been here for generations. My full brother has never been asked where he […]
Mayra Cramer Menlo Park, CA I’m a brown typically Hispanic looking upper middle class woman living in an affluent suburb of San Francisco. I’ve allways had a hard time fitting in because I was raised in “white” neighborhoods and went to elite and desirable schools. My third child is fair and people in the street […]
Elena Rodrigues Houghton, MA Living in a small town in the UP of Michigan and having a fairly Hispanic name can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Sometimes it shows how some people view a person from a different background in a negative way and other times it can be positive. I have been […]
Katrina V. Cromwell, Pearl Harbor, HI. My father is Hispanic and White and my mother is Black. They met in high school and they have been married for 28 years. I knew nothing about racism until my father sat me down as a kid and told me about things that my parents went through in […]
Maria Smith San Jose, CA It’s a bizarre little problem to have. Especially in California.
Rebecca Rodriguez Baltimore, MD This is a picture of my brother and I. Constantly he gets accused of being Arab, Mexican or Italian from Caucasians, “White guy” from African Americans, and Persian from Iranians. My story falls somewhere along the same line. We both grew up Latino (Guatemalan to be specific), and even then – […]
Sonia Boston, MA When people look at me, I clearly look Hispanic. So much so that many are surprised to hear that I speak perfect English, with no accent at all. Once I was told, “Wow, you speak so well!” I was born in Boston, educated in Boston, worked in broadcasting and took voice an […]
Danya Granado Aurora, CO If you must place me in a racial category, then call me black. And no, I’m not offended when you say it. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in England. I have a Hispanic last name. I get a lot of questions. Culturally, I feel as though […]
Alex Pozo St. Louis, MO Just because people are of Latino descent, does not mean that people can assume they are Mexican.
Katya Abazajian Houston, TX The government’s method of collecting data on ethnicity/race through the Census reflects the confusion and incorrectness in today’s label-obsessed culture. Our government is not on the forefront of the necessary social change.
Veronica Herrera Nacogdoches, TX My daughter currently only 2 months was conceived through a donor who is African American. My wife is Caucasian and I am Mexican/Cuban American. When my wife and I spoke about having kids she wanted to carry the child first because she is older than me. We wanted our child to […]
Alex Johnson Bentonville, AR My father is Caucasian, born and raised in Arkansas. My mother is Hispanic, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, despite her time living in both New York and Arkansas. I’ve seen myself as biracial since I found out my mother was from outside the states but, every time I fill […]
Erica Shofner Eugene, OR Explore Identity Being mixed race is a blessing and a curse. I don’t have to deal with the unfortunate social stigma that comes with being Hispanic in America because of my light complexion, but I’m deprived of acceptance by the Hispanic community for the same reason. I thirst to experience that […]
Peter Kim Los Angeles, CA Heard the phrase “majority minority” on the radio the other day. I know exactly what they meant and I have heard it many times before, but it irked me. Used to express when an ethnic minority is greater than 50% or outnumber the “majority.” The implications are that the majority […]
Rachel Masilamani Pittsburgh, PA I was eating lunch alone in the break room on my first day at an office job when 3 of my new co-workers peeked in. “Are you Hispanic, or just Italian?” one of them blurted out. Neither, actually. This lady just laid down her line for White and Not White and […]
Elvira Randall Lakeland, FL
Christine Ortega Gaurkee Saint Petersburg, FL Being Hispanic in this country sometimes puts you into many different worlds without even realizing it.
Victor Santana-Melgoza El Paso, TX For most of my life I have been rejected by many people in the Hispanic/Chican@/Latin@ community for not learning and practicing Spanish (as well as not following other cultural cues). I was raised in a household where English was the main language spoken. I am 4th generation American, raised by […]
Jennifer Lopez Salt Lake City, UT Don’t match your assumptions, that is. It certainly doesn’t help to have the same name as a famous Latina, either. I’m a pale freckled gal from the south, and for a while, south Texas, which was interesting. My dad is from Cuba and my mom is from East Texas. […]
Ethan Pickering Washington, DC …a drink. Because he stumbled into the bar hammered. But he was Salvadoran and I am white. Nevermind that I was speaking to him in Spanish (NOT my first language). Nevermind that I was conversing with other Spanish speakers who were drinking–some who were drunk–at the bar. Nevermind that nobody else […]
Joel Wasinger Wylie, TX By all appearances, I’m “white” and I was raised in white middle class America. My biological father was Hispanic (my relatives on that side are mostly pale, like me). My dad, the man who raised me, is part Native American. My wife’s son–now my son–is black, technically mixed race. And there’s […]
Kenna Hensen Philadelphia, PA I’m so ashamed to say I have racist thoughts. I grew up in a small suburban town believing that no matter your ethnicity, racist remarks where never appropriate. I moved into a large urban city 5 years ago and found my thoughts and feelings on racism being altered by my experience […]
Nancy Sheperd Sacramento, CA As a mixed-race woman, I’m often struck by others’, and especially strangers’, need to put me into a box. It isn’t only white people, though they are the only ones who use the phrase “What ARE you?” as if I am something other than human. Those who ask are always surprised, […]
James Meyer Salisbury, CT I was adopted and became an artist, all of my paintings portray white children when my wife asked me why, I realized I never saw anyone that looked like me growing up.
Briana Ciccarino Baltimore, MD “Are you Latina/Hispanic?” this is the question I often get when meeting new people. I appreciate the compliment and wish I was Latina, but I’m white. How can a white girl look Latina? Not sure. Like so many others, I am a mix of many heritages: I am Italian, Polish, German, […]
Steven N. Pembroke Pines, FL I am Hispanic, born and raised in New York. I served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992 and was stationed in Jacksonville, NC. I was on my way to Fayetteville to visit some friends and got lost on the way. I stopped at some convenience store to ask […]
Andrea M. Newton, MA I grew up not really ever thinking about my race until my college applications asked me to literally box myself into one race. I always thought I was “white” with my Irish last name, Swedish grandmother, and my other American family. I just also had a mother who took us to […]
Elizabeth Norris Taylor Fernandina Beach, FL I have lived my entire life with people coming up to me and asking, “what are you?” For a while in college, I had some very clever comebacks… now days I simply shrug and say, “American, and you?” I have had people come up to me and speak Spanish […]
Isaiah Santiago Philadelphia, PA My names Isaiah Santiago and I am Puerto Rican. Being Puerto Rican and being different is always something that I’ve dealt with in my life. I’ve always been called things like gringo(white boy) or just a fake Puerto Rican. All of this comes back to me not speaking Spanish. Everyone always […]
Riley W. Marshalltown, IA I’m ethnically European and Turkish, but raised in a town with influential Hispanic and Burmese influences. I find myself thinking that culture isn’t about where you came from, but instead a blending of the different ways of being an American.
Jorge Grand Rapids, MI I am Hispanic and proud to be so. Growing up I realized that my skin was darker than my brothers’ and many others in the family and from very early on (growing up in El Salvador, my beloved but racist little country) I was aware that the color of one’s skin […]
Joe DiPietro Oakland, CA As a short, dark white guy who’s been called “kike,” “spic,” and “raghead” by white guys, “gringo” or “anglo” by Hispancis, “dago” and “WOP” by blacks, I’ve learned what voice I have in the discussion about race and ethnicity. None. Yeah, I know–I haven’t lived the oppression. I’ll be a good […]
Tomas Sanchez, Forth Worth, TX. It’s so easy to choose any single part of you to define your identity. When you have more than one, they all become just details.
Lauren Mooney Elk Grove, CA As children, my mother always referred to us as Lebanese Leprechauns. She was first generation American, of hard-working Lebanese immigrants. My father was of Scots-Irish decent; his family having immigrated several generations earlier. American first and foremost, both parents also made sure we knew about the cultures of our ancestors. […]
King I Allah Lowell, MA This question is at work and on the streets (I’m a so-called Hispanic teacher in a predominantly white teaching force in a predominantly immigrant city). What they mean to say is, “You know what I’m talking about, right? You are like them. So, you must know. Right?” No, just because […]
Jose Caceres San Antonio, TX I am from Peru, living in Texas for the last 9 years. It is quite common around here to call Hispanics “Mexican”. Even though it might sound silly or irrelevant, to some of us it DOES matter. It hurts.
Claudia Noronha Madrigal Mankato, MN These words are one of my earliest memories of living in the U.S. I can’t remember for sure where I was, but I think I was submitting my driver’s license application at the DMV. I don’t remember the woman’s face or her voice. I do remember the tone, dripping with […]
Maite Knorr-Evans Outside USA Ethnically I am Hispanic racially I am White. When I am with my friends they walk faster around those with darker skin color and baggier cloths, forgetting that standing right next to them coated in pale white skin is the same thing but only on the inside.
Lisa Aragon Duque San Diego, CA Growing up Hispanic from New Mexico, in Hawaii, mistaken for a white girl. I was neither accepted nor rejected. I felt stuck in the middle. I felt wholly Hispanic in a white world and no one ever questioned me because of my fair skin. Hispanics of all cultures still […]
Varun Vajpeyi Iowa City, IA I’m part white part south Asian Indian. I have been confused with other ethnic groups, most of the time its by a white people and most of the time people of other groups will say no you are not Indian, Arab, Hispanic etc. I feel i really don’t belong to […]
Marta Silva-Serrano Lenexa, KS Sad statement by an immigration officer when I had to fill in my request for a Social Security Number in order to work as a doctoral student in a Kansas University. I am from Spain and I had never been asked about my race before.
James E. Cooper III El Paso, TX
Yvonne Ramirez Dodge City, KS There are times where I have walked up to the register and and the cashier assumes I don’t speak English and they speak to me in Spanish. I don’t take offensive because the city I’m from is very diverse so I took it as them being helpful. It does make […]
Miguel G. Hays, KS I always meet a ton of people that get very surprised that I’m Hispanic since I’m not short or dark-skinned . I’ve also surprised plenty of people at work the moment I ‘d speak Spanish over the phone with my parents. I’m very well immersed in my Hispanic culture and am […]
Alejandro L. Zúñiga Sacks Ann Arbor, MI
Felina M. Gentile Colorado Springs, CO Both my sisters look Hispanic, like our mom. But I’m the only one to look my dad, who’s German. Some people wouldn’t believe me that I was Hispanic till they saw the rest of my family. So yes, sometimes I get mad/upset when people say I’m just some white […]
Angelica Ortiz Colorado Springs, CO I am a child of a full Hispanic father and half white and Japanese mother. My skin is quite fair, my checks are naturally a shade of pink and I do have slanted eyes. As a child I grew up around my Hispanic family, where everyone around me was darker […]
Alejandro L. Zúñiga Sacks Ann Arbor, MI
Alfredo Holguin Ann Arbor, MI Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Shorty Summary: I decided to choose these 6 words as my race card because this is something that I have heard A LOT since living in the US for the last 10 years of my life. Every time that I tell people that I […]
Mark Wood-Caballero Tempe, AZ I can’t fully determine what races I have in my heritage. My father, born in Baltimore, was a white anglo-saxon. My mother was born in Peru of Spanish and Incan descent, but with German and English ancestors. I grew up in Mexico as a US Citizen and now live in the […]
Gaby Gonzalez Mineola, NY People tend to immediately decide I’m not educated simply because I’m Hispanic. Race does not equal ignorance nor does it equal intelligence. Your intelligence is based on so many things, the color of your skin has nothing to do with it.
Kara Frederick, MD This sentiment comes from living in Laredo, TX, where the town is 95% ethnically Mexican and very racist against anybody who is not Hispanic, and especially “white”. Laredoans use the word Anglo in the way that “spic” has been used.
Matthew B. Leon El Paso, TX I was born and raised in the boarder city of El Paso, Texas. I would say 80% of the population is hispanic. People here expect me to know Spanish because of where I live, my skin tone and because of my last name. The fact is that I don’t […]
Ashley Pettiford, Cincinnati, OH. I am black white, and Hispanic. I’ve had some mishaps from being what I am and it’s kind of ridiculous. People need to stop worrying about me being three different races and instead putting more energy into something that could be more beneficial! Boom Suckka!
Kyrk Morris Submitted via Twitter: @KyrkMorris